The Wheeling Nailers announced yesterday their third player signing of the 2014 offseason. Wheeling has re-signed forward Tyler Fernandez to an ECHL contract.
Fernandez, 25, had a breakthrough season in 2013-14, as he appeared in a career-high 54 games with the Nailers, after previously playing in just 16 ECHL games over the course of three professional seasons. Tyler’s offensive numbers reflected that opportunity, as he finished tied for fifth on the team with 13 goals, while adding 12 assists for 25 total points. The Bloomfield, CT native wasted little time in making his presence felt, as he netted his first ECHL goal in his second game with Wheeling – the game-winner in a 3-1 triumph at Elmira on November 29th. During February and March, Fernandez experienced two of his better stretches of the campaign, as he notched two point streaks of at least five games, in addition to a run which saw him light the lamp in six of seven tilts.
“Tyler Fernandez is a player who joined our team last season in late November, and played extremely well, making an immediate impact,” said Nailers Head Coach Clark Donatelli. “He is someone who can play all three forward positions, and he makes himself difficult to play against, which allows us to utilize him on our special teams,” he said. “Tyler scored some big goals for us last season, and I am looking forward to seeing him make even bigger strides this year.”
Prior to joining the Nailers, Tyler had spent the majority of his pro career in the SPHL, split between four teams. While his 11 points in 12 games with Peoria to start 2013-14 were certainly notable, it was the 2012-13 season that remains the forward’s best, as he registered 21 goals and 50 points in 42 games with Knoxville. In addition, Fernandez attended Brown University for three seasons, while playing his junior hockey with the EJHL’s New England Jr. Coyotes/Falcons.
“I am very happy to be back in Wheeling with a team that I established myself with last season,” Fernandez said. “Last year was great for me to get my first ECHL season under my belt, and I am grateful that Clark Donatelli not only liked me enough to bring me in last season, but that he also wants me back again this season,” he said. “We had a really good team, and regardless of my spot, I felt like I was always playing with great players.”
Tyler Fernandez and the Wheeling Nailers will open the 2014-15 regular season on Saturday, October 18th at 7:35, when they take the ice against the Reading Royals.